Pleasant Rowland and her Pleasant Company managed to create a market for dolls that were inspired by history. Introduced in 1986, these 18” dolls taught history via great back stories and dolls with authentic outfits. The company was eventually purchased by Mattel (they certainly keep coming up in this list, don’t they?). Pleasant Rowland is to be credited for created a doll category that, by treating girls as intelligent and inquisitive people, created a product category that today generates 100’s of millions of dollars.
Is GI Joe a doll? Yes, he is. He comes with numerous accessories and habitats just like his fashion doll sisters, it’s just that there are hand grenades instead of earrings. Hasbro did have to call them Action Figures (do we still have to?) so little boys would play with them. Boys love them as can be witnessed by the power of the GI Joe franchise and the action figure category of toys it helped launch.
Raggedy Ann and Andy
Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy are the only rag dolls to make the list. Based upon a series of popular, early 20th century books by Johnny Gruelle, these dolls harken back to an era when probably most dolls were made literally from discarded household rags (probably the same rags that went into making patchwork quilts). These dolls remind us of another, simpler time.
Shirley Temple Doll
Though not the first celebrity doll, the Shirley Temple doll is probably the most famous. The Hannah Montana and Justin Bieber dolls are her direct descendants. Produced by Ideal, the doll was a
Who would have thought that something so frankly odd looking as a Cabbage Patch doll would create such passion in adults? Any of you who can remember Cabbage Patch Dolls will remember the fist fights that broke out between normally well-adjusted moms in toy and discount stores around the country. Cabbage Patch dolls can probably be credited with creating a class of doll that depend less upon beauty than character and novelty.
So, that’s my Top 10. What did I miss?